The Non-governmental Organisation Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) says it will start engaging chiefs in its drive to empower women economically especially in land ownership.

Chair for NGO-GCN’s agriculture and economic empowerment of women committee, Hellen Chasowa, said this in Mzuzu on Monday.

She said the committee was particularly looking at land allocation.

“In most families, the most hardworking people are women. Yet in most of these families women have very little control over land as a means of production.

“We will engage chiefs as the key authorities in land allocation to ensure that women also have a fair share of the crucial resource. We will also engage chiefs in the formation of village savings loans which are to be run by women themselves,” she said.

Chasowa said this after presentation for discussion of a report which highlighted gender disparities between men and women in the agriculture sector particularly the administration of the Farm Income Subsidy Programme (Fisp).

Among others, the report noted that there was no mention of women beneficiaries during implementation of the programme although project implementation documents explicitly mention different gender groups as beneficiaries of the programme.

It also revealed that although 60 percent of labour in the agriculture sector is generally provided by women, with 80 percent in food production, men were the ones controlling the harvest.

Meanwhile, the report, which was first presented in Blantyre, generated debate among participants who comprised agricultural officials from the Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division (Mzadd).

Participants recommended that the survey should be conducted in other areas after noticing that the report that was presented followed a survey conducted in three villages under Blantyre ADD.

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